Osteopathy is a natural health care system of diagnosis and treatment for a wide range of medical conditions. It works with the structure and function of the body and is based on the principle that the well-being of an individual depends on the skeleton, muscles, ligaments and connective tissues functioning smoothly together.
To an osteopath, for your body to work well, its structure must also work well. Therefore osteopaths work to restore your body to a state of balance, hopefully avoiding the need for drugs or surgery. Osteopaths use touch, physical manipulation, stretching and massage to increase or balance the mobility of joints, to relieve muscle tension, to enhance the blood and nerve supply to tissues, and to help your body’s own healing mechanisms. They may also provide advice on posture and exercise to aid recovery, promote health and prevent symptoms recurring. The osteopath seeks to find and treat the underlying cause of pain to prevent symptoms from recurring, this may not necessarily be at the site of pain but from another area entirely.
Osteopathic treatment will vary greatly depending on the presenting problem, the level of pain the person is experiencing, and the age and build of the patient. The different techniques we will use and approaches we will take will be discussed with you at all stages throughout your treatment and we can adapt the way we work according to your feedback. For example if a particular technique has caused you pain or been ineffective previously then we can use a number of different methods to achieve a better result for your individual needs.
Osteopathic treatment most usually involves the following techniques:
- Soft-tissue massage to the muscles to improve drainage and blood flow, reduce scar tissue or adhesions and to stretch out tight areas.
- Articulation of restricted joints. This is often done rhythmically and helps to increase the range of movement within the joint.
- High velocity low amplitude thrusts, this involves a very small but very fast movement being put through a joint which often results in a clicking noise. This is just like the click that can be heard when you crack your knuckles, and can be a very effective way to release joints and muscles in the spine.